The hotel in question is London’s trendy ME Hotel. Foster + Partners’ design for the Atrium Champagne Bar has won the top award for bar design at the 2013 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards in the ‘Restaurant or bar in a hotel’ segment. So let’s sneak a peek at the best-designed bar and find out what makes it truly exceptional.
The cathedral-shaped atrium is a shrine to champagne and more. With a skylight over 24 meters high, it serves as a reminder of a young Indian Jones, uncovering it under a monolithic plinth and climbing down to get a drink! Although, one would picture Harrison Ford guzzling his favorite tipple here, minus the mythical garb even. But just you wait until the walls come to life courtesy of creative projections, and you’ll be sitting right in the middle of a maritime imagination.
Experts at the UK and International Restaurant & Bar Design Awards say that the nine-story high pyramid, clad entirely in white marble, with a highly reflective, black polished granite floor, is the hotel’s main spatial event. And that rather than works of art littering the lavish space, the projections celebrate its magnanimous proportions, “giant jellyfish rise upwards as if from the depths of the sea, and the triangulated panels of the marble cladding are illuminated and animated like origami.”
The minimal furnishings of the bar were custom-made to bring alive this fantasy, including sleek black reception desks, a freestanding triangular champagne bar, and a 30-meter long curving bench. The project is said to be the first hotel in which everything, from the shell of the building to the bathroom fittings, has been designed by Foster + Partners. The trick, I suppose, was to enhance the bar’s bold geometry and its 80-foot high top-lit space with the softness of certain inviting elements replete with their own brand of refined elegance.